Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Interview: Plant Based Traveler

If you have not heard of Plant Based Traveler, let me be the first to introduce you to Dana & Lou's beautifully curated travel show on vegan - yes plant based, cuisine. I admire people who pursue their passions even if it seems like a wildcard, out of the ordinary. In fact I think those are the best stories to watch + unfold. The chance to explore the world while seeking out delicious good food, communicating with makers, chefs, and people of all walks of life seems like a dream come true. Of course this is the theme of many travel shows - you interact and learn about a culture through their cuisine and stories. 

However Plant Based Traveler expands their niche by being kinder to the environment through our palates and discovering plant-based cuisine throughout the world (literally) Through their The City Speaks mini-doc series they explore a city through vegan food while developing more long length episodes (the first episode will be linked at the post of this post). Follow Plant Based Traveler on Vimeo, Instagram, and Facebook
Who are you & What do you do?
Hello, I’m Dana, co-founder of Plant Based Traveler, a new online vegan travel show. I currently live in Berlin, Germany with my boyfriend, Lou, and together we travel the world, capturing as many plant-based stories as we can. Currently I am also taking German classes, running the occasional pop-up restaurant and spending as much time outdoors as possible!

How did Plant Based Traveler come to fruition?
Lou and I had always been really passionate about food and travel and when we couldn’t be exploring a new city we really enjoyed watching shows like Anthony Bourdain and The Mind of a Chef. However, once we went vegan those shows started to lose their luster. The food they were showing was no longer appealing to us and we thought maybe there were other people out there who were looking to see a new perspective on travel. Lou happened to working a production company in NYC and I had recently decided to quit my job and so like that we decided to start our own company.

Tell us you vegan/plant based story – what motivated you?
I actually found veganism when looking for a cleanse to do after quitting my job in New York. I was exhausted in every sense of the word and wanted something to kickstart a new healthy lifestyle. I stumbled upon Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Diet and started a 30 day cleanse that had me abstaining from alcohol, gluten and all animal products. By the end of the month, I had spent so much time researching veganism that there was no turning back. Once I learned about atrocities happening on factory farms and the destruction that animal agriculture is doing to the planet, it seemed hard for me to just treat this like another fad diet.

What message do you wish to convey with your show?
We hope that “Plant Based Traveler” inspires people to not only question the way that they currently travel, but also change how they engage with the world every day of the week. We want to share stories from all over the world, so that people can see how easy it is to be vegan and break down the stereotypes of what a typical vegan looks like.

Besides your show, what projects are you working? Do you celebrate the seasons (i.e. eating seasonally)?
I am always in the kitchen. I try to post new food pictures on our Instagram account every day, which definitely helps me stay motivated in trying new things. I try to eat as seasonally as possible though I am a sucker when it comes to tropical fruit, especially mangos!

Do you have a morning routine?
My morning routine is quite simple, before anything I like to drink at least half a liter of water. Then I usually either make a quick smoothie or a bowl of oatmeal, and then bike to German class.

What do you do on your time off?
When the weather is nice, one of my favorite things to do in Berlin is to enjoy the green spaces. There are so many different parks in this city and one of my favorites is Tempelhof – an airport turned communal space that is perfect for biking, picnicking or flying a kite!

You’ve traveled extensively, what are some of you favorite places (this can be food/fashion/in general)
One of my favorite cities will always be Barcelona as it is where I studied abroad while in college and where Lou and I met. It was the first city I lived in outside of the United States and where I really caught the travel bug. I think it’s a great city for other people to visit too, as the architecture of the city is incredible with the Sagrada Familia, Park Guell and all of Guadi’s other works. And then the food is fantastic – just google The Boqueria and you’ll be in awe!

Top 5 Necessities (can be culinary, clothing, makeup, etc.) for travel and/or health
1.     Stay hydrated! I always have a lot of water with me, and water-rich foods like grapes, cucumber, or orange slices.
2.     Pack many layers: the worst thing is getting to a place and realizing the weather has taken a turn for the unexpected and you are left wishing you had an extra sweater or a tank top.
3.     Download podcasts: In Europe, buses are definitely the cheapest way to get around, but they can be long! Just last weekend I took a bus to Warsaw, which was 9 hours! To make sure I don’t get bored I usually bring a book and load my phone with podcasts. I love The Moth Podcast, This American Life, and Invisibilia.
4.     Get a map: I find a paper map is the best tool in getting situated in a new city. 
5.     Power Converters/Chargers: All of my work is on the computer or on my phone, so I always double check that I have all the needed cords and cables that will keep me charged up!

What is one organization/foundation you support or is close to your heart?
As I have only been vegan for a year and after watching Cowspiracy the major environmental organizations are now out the window, so I find myself still in search of the foundation that aligns with all of my beliefs. Until I find the perfect one, all my support goes to the animal sanctuaries around the world. Their work is never ending and I really admire their dedication to giving dignity back to those who have lived their whole life imprisoned.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I don’t really have a 5-year-plan at the moment, so hopefully I will be happy and healthy and doing work that keeps me inspired!

What are your ideal places to travel or, where would you like to travel?
There are so many places on my travel list right now! Since I’m living in Berlin, exploring Europe is top of the list – I would love to go to Vienna, Budapest, Lisbon, but then when it comes to exploring the world seeing more of South America is really important to me. Lou and I spent 3 months in Peru in 2014 filming the first episode of Plant Based Traveler and I would love to get to explore other parts of the continent.

Dream Vision Board: what would your ideal day consist of?
My ideal day would consist of time with friends and family with lots of sunshine, preferably on a beach somewhere. Oh and lots, and lots of fresh fruit!

One piece of advice:
Never stop looking for the life that will make you the happiest.

Watch the first episode which is in Cusco, Peru (Lima is also on the way, which is also where my mother hails from) and the City Speaks New York trailer that capturing how diverse but uniquely beautiful New York is. All episodes here




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